Australia's corporate regulator: farm finance regulation should be of supreme importance

Australia's corporate regulator: farm finance regulation should be of supreme importance

The Australian corporate regulator might require playing a greater role in regulating agricultural finance considering the absence of redress options for borrowers, as it shifted its attention to Australia’s $50 billion farm sector.

Halfway through a year of highly anticipated hearings, the given inquiry into financial sector misconduct has provoked damaging revelations of careless as well as con lending practices, sucking in tens of billions of dollars from the country’s bank valuations, boosting key asset sales and causing executive departures.

The so-called Royal Commission's another round of hearings is paying attention to worsening access to banking services for up to 6.9 million Australians who reside in rural regions, the complete inflexibility of lenders toward farm-specific issues, such as trade disputes, weather as well as lack of customized regulations for this sector.

It’s evident that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission might require taking a more hands-on role in farm finance because some rural creditors, including the non-bank ones, aren’t covered by complaints-handling systems. That’s what Warren Day, the watchdog’s head of assessment and intelligence, uncovered to reporters.

Farm borrowers definitely benefit from more flexible terms, which governing non-bank loans. However, for non-bank lenders there aren’t any strict lending regulations, but they’re strongly required.

For bank-originating farm debt, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission was concerned with without explanation or warning lenders had loan contract terms for farm businesses changed that turned out to be late with payments.

Warren Day added that the typical complaint to us is the borrower isn’t capable of getting a reconcilable statement as for how the financial institution has come up with the default or penalty rate to start with.

It’s quite shocking for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission that a financial institution, which is actually in the business of providing statements of account, is unable to come up with a plausible statement regarding what’s owed.

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